Friday, July 8

Zina of Khana Commune {Interview with}

As promised and just before the weekend starts, here is my interview with the wonderful Zina, master chef behind the now popular Khana Commune Supper Club in Singapore... You can read my review {here} if you've missed it last Thursday.

from left:
Tangy mango dahl; Zina at work; pistachio kulfi

#1 Are you choosing a travel destination for the food you will most likely eat on the spot?
Definitely. I am not really into sightseeing or museums - but a good travel itinerary for me is one where I get to  explore all the food a city has to offer. From its best restaurant, to its local cuisine, its food markets and grocery stores. I recently spent four days in NYC, and literally, all I did was eat. 6-7 times a day.
{I like the idea, but chutttt...}

What are your top three food destinations in Asia? in Europe?
I'll answer that instead as my top three food destinations in the world: Spain, Japan and New York City. Within Asia: Japan, Indonesia and Thailand.

#2 Singapore is quite a famous hub when it comes to food. Singaporeans like to eat and there is an amazing range of restaurants offering food from the world over. Do you feel there is something missing in Singapore's dining scene?
I think the biggest thing missing from Singapore culinary scene is the personal touch. There are alot of big, shiny reputable restaurants but none of them have a face attached to them. We lack small indie food & drink establishments like the kind you find in cities like Beirut and NYC. Things of course are changing now, and you are seeing more indie efforts spring up everywhere. My biggest gripe: restaurants with staff who don't speak a word of English. This really makes me seriously upset.

Do you wish to find here something you have loved abroad?
More supper clubs! :) More small indie bars like you find in the Gemmayzeh district of Beirut for example.

from left: 
peanut & pineapple salad; chicken khorma; prawn & bean bhartha on crackers

#3 Insights from the wonderful cook and host you are: what are your favorite markets/ stores to shop for food in Singapore?
I tend to buy most of my produce from the local wet markets like Tekka or the one near my house in the West Coast. I absolutely love going food shopping, but I do find it unfortunate that the local gourmet grocery scene is quite out of reach for most of the Singaporean public. I would love to see more expansion of stores selling quality, hard to find produce, but alongside increasing affordability. I am not sure to what extent this is possible though since we are so heavily reliant on exports. Otherwise, I actually spend a lot of time collecting ingredients whilst traveling.

#4 Please share with us your big dream, and let us help you to spread the word and make it happen!
I live off many dreams :). Right now, I am living one! I absolutely love running Khana Commune and for the moment, I am satisfied! I am not keen to turn it into a restaurant {as that would defeat its purpose}. Someday I'd love to run a B&B though, so I can continue the hospitality that is the central vein of running a supper club.

{We wish you all the best in the future Zina! }

* Info: there are two spots available for the commune taking place in July 13 {as I write this post}. Please book yours here.

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Photo credit: Khana Commune


steph said...

Your pictures and review of the dinner at Zina brought back fond memories of my experience. Thank you so much for sharing with us! :)

Wanted to sign up for the 13th July dinner but only 1 slot was left by the time i visited the reservation page and I wanted to bring my boyfriend this time round!

Marie Maglaque said...

Thank you Steph! Maybe next time we can meet up there? thinking of organizing a commune at Zina's with only bloggers...

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